Short Story: A Fortune Teller

The sky had long since turned silky black, stars blinking in and out behind the rising fog, when she found the little booth. It was nothing more than a wooden stand, deep purple tapestries flowing down from the trellis hiding most of the structure. When she stood right in front of it, a gap in the cloth revealed a little ticket window lit up with soft orange light. The sign over the window read:

Fortunes Foretold

She moved closer, peering into the curtains. Inside, perched on a stool, was a young man reading by candlelight. He wore a white button up shirt and jeans; the only strange thing about him was the old fashioned, woven vest that draped loosely over his shoulders and the bright shock of blue hair that tumbled over his eyes. As she moved closer, he shifted, setting the book on a little shelf to his right and stretching his long arms in the air. She glanced at the book, reading the title – Fortune Telling for Dummies – with a cocked eyebrow. Lowering his arms from his stretch, the man shook his bright curls off his face and spotted her with a smirk. She came fully up to the window and he smiled even wider as they stared at each other. After a moment, he stood and looked down at her through the window, eyes shining orange and yellow in the candlelight as he spoke.

“Not to be cliché, love, but I’ve been waiting for you.”

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Short Story: The Road to Hell is Paved with Concrete

If the road to Hell is a highway, it’s like I-90 into Chicago on a Friday night in July. Everyone and their mother is heading into the city while 24/7 construction means constant merging and cursing other drivers. Not to mention, you are now thirty minutes late to dinner with your soon-to-be ex-wife and it’s not like she needs any more ammunition after she caught you in the pool house with the maid. Yup, it’s a lot like that.

How do I know this? I work in a toll booth on the way to the gates. You thought working in a toll booth was the worst conceivable job in the world? Try doing it in Hell. It’s a whole bunch of “Where am I?” and “Where are we going” and “Hey babe, want to let me see what’s under that vest?” As you would imagine, we get tons of assholes through here.

They tell you the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. A paradox, in it’s own way, that good intentions somehow end up in disaster. It makes you wonder if bad intentions can have good outcomes, or if we’re all fucked from the beginning. Well, let me be the first to tell you it’s not paved with any kind of intentions. It’s just cracked concrete. There aren’t even nice grass meridians or anything. Just a whole lot of grey, chopped up with dotted yellow lines.

The truth is, I don’t know what led these people here. Lines and lines of cars filled with sinners and evil-doers – whatever you want to call them – but they’re still just people. I couldn’t tell you what paved their paths to this wasteland. I sit here and watch thousands of dead eyes stare, terrified, at the blackness at the end of road, unable to stop themselves from moving forward. I get a lot of question, but most often I just hear “What did I do to deserve this?” I don’t know the answer. Was it good intentions? Were you an asshole who cheated on your wife with the maid? How should I know? It’s above my pay grade.

Alive

I kind of hate when books or movies have a character (usually some sheltered teenage girl who’s never bothered to make her own decisions in life) that does something stupid – you know, like jump out of a plane or kiss a stranger – and says “I’ve never been so alive” in a breathy exhale. Well, what the fuck were you before now? Have you been in a coma for twenty years? Did you just miraculously get cured from a zombie apocalypse? This is a fact: you are alive. You are alive and you will always be as alive as you are right now. Then one day, you won’t be. As crazy or wild or fun as some experiences may be, they are just moments in one (hopefully) long life, not a singular climax in a drab encyclopedia of ordinary moments. The universe formed, and species evolved, and your parents met, and DNA combined, all to result in you being here in this life. Those moments all mattered, so why shouldn’t all of yours?

Rain

It’s so easy to think about the bad things in life. When you’re standing in the rain and you’ve forgotten your presentation at home and there’s no way you can afford to take your mother out for her birthday this week, it’s hard to think about anything good. It’s a lot like trust. You trust someone because of all the times they stood by you, but one little screw up and you can’t imagine ever trusting them again. Joy is taken for granted, then one day the sadness comes and it’s like you’ll never know happiness, or laughter, or love ever again.

It’s a cruel reality, isn’t it? Why can I remember standing beside my grandmother’s open grave but not what it felt like to hug her? Why can I recall with perfect clarity the fear in my best friend’s voice when her parents were in a car crash, but not what it sounded like the first time I made her laugh? I don’t know the answer. I wish I did, as there are so many things I have lost to time and fear.

What I do know though, is that happiness will come again. I will see my best friend and the rain will leave and one day I will take my mom to the best restaurant in town and tell her “thank you.”Because this has shown me what I take for granted, and now I know to bring my umbrella.

I Hate People

I hate people. Yes, I hate people so much that I’m writing on a platform explicitly made to reach the billions of people across this international bridge called the internet. What a sad form of communication. If I could somehow be published in a newspaper or magazine, at least I would feel like people of real substance would read it. Not to insinuate that you have no substance, but you saw the title and decided to read anyway, so how offended can you really be?

See, I’m writing this on the ass-backwards communicative form that is a blog because – as I’ve already mentioned – I DON’T LIKE PEOPLE. So obviously I’m not going to say it out loud. Not necessarily because I don’t want to offend, but because it would mean interaction with another person and I simply don’t want to do that. I’m what scientists call an asshole. Oh, sorry – I meant introvert. Again, not to make any assumptions that all introverts are assholes, I just happen to be one. Think correlation, not causation.

It’s a problem, because I say “I don’t like people” and said people think, “Oh she’s one of those lovable, sarcastic people that provide witty comments and dry remarks. Let’s bug her until she reluctantly takes us into her heart.” That’s fine and dandy, maybe a lot of introverts are like that. I’m not. Excess affection and pressing yourself into my life is NOT the way to make me like you. I have numerous failed relationships (romantic and friendly) that show the more I have to be around you, the less I enjoy your company.

Don’t get me wrong, I may be an asshole and an introvert, but I’m not heartless. I have friends, and I love them. Sometimes I want someone around to laugh at my witty comments. I just need people to understand that most of the time, I will wholeheartedly choose being alone. Please don’t wonder if there is something wrong with me. I have my share of mental insecurities and issues, but for the most part, I am a healthy and happy functioning member of society. I just wish that society would shut up every now and then.  No matter how much you tell me “You just need to get out more” or “You just haven’t met the right guy” or “Amelia, you haven’t left the house in a week. At least shower.” I will not change, nor should I (except maybe to bathe).

Here’s the thing, the main point, the crux of the problem: I want to be alone, not lonely. I could never discourage anyone from being my friend. My deep, dark, secret truth is that I love people. I love making them laugh, I love hearing their stories, I love making them happy. But the love I can give – as well as the love I can take – spreads me thin. I need you to know that I need to recover. I need to build up myself before I can help support you. Often, that means being alone, maybe with a cup of coffee and a good book. Maybe a little Teen Wolf if I’m feeling especially tween-emotional that day. If you let me give you what love I have, on my conditions, I promise I’ll give it all. But I need you to love me for what I am: an asshole. Oh, wait – I meant introvert.